Windows 8 is full of gestures and shortcuts. In addition to touch-screen gestures, there are swipe gestures you can perform with your laptop’s touchpad and mouse gestures that involve moving your cursor to the corners of the screen. However, there are ways to disable Windows 8 gestures. This is particularly useful if these gestures get in your way while using your touchpad or mouse.
Disabling the gestures can be useful if you accidentally trigger them while using your touchpad or if the app switcher and charms bar keep appearing as you move your mouse around the desktop. You can disable a Windows 8 device’s touch screen entirely, too — we don’t recommend it, but it’s something you can do if you want.
Disable Touchpad Gestures
Windows 8’s touchpad swipe gestures are particularly useful on laptops. They mimic touch-screen gestures, giving you easier access to Windows 8’s essential features. For example, swipe in from the right on a touchpad and you’ll see the charms, just as if you had swiped in from the right on a touchscreen.
Unfortunately, while these gestures can make it easier to get around in Windows 8, they can also just get in the way. If you find yourself accidentally triggering these gestures when you’re only trying to move your mouse cursor around, you can disable them.
Open the Control Panel, click the Hardware and Sound category, and select Mouse under Devices and Printers. Click over to the Device Settings tab (you should see this if you have a Synaptics touchpad driver installed), click the Settings button, and uncheck the Enable Edge Swipes option. Click OK to save your settings.
You can also disable them via the Windows registry — you’ll find instructions for doing so in our in-depth look at Windows 8 swipe gestures.
Disable Charms and App Switcher Hot Corners
Windows 8 also allows you to access the app switcher — which only works with Modern apps — and the charms by moving your mouse to the corners of the screen. These clunky mouse gestures can get in the way, too — you may find yourself accidentally pulling up the charms bar when you move your cursor to the top-right corner of the screen to press a desktop window’s close button, for example.
Luckily, many third-party programs can easily disable these hot corners. Install an application like Start8, Classic Shell, or one of the many other Start menus for Windows 8 and you’ll find options to disable these hot corners. You can still open the app switcher or charms by pressing the appropriate keyboard shortcuts — Windows Key + Tab or Windows Key + C — but you won’t be able to open them with mouse gestures.
Third-party apps aren’t the only way to disable these hot corners. You can also disable them by editing the registry and changing a few registry values. The third-party apps make this easier, as Microsoft decided to bury these options deep in the registry and make it hard for average users to disable the hot corners. Most people should stick with the above solutions rather than editing the registry.
First, open the registry editor — press Start, type regedit, and press Enter. Navigate to the following key:
Create a new key named EdgeUI under the ImmersiveShell key. Under EdgeUI, create a new DWORD value, name it DisableCharmsHint, and set its value to 1
To also disable the app switcher hot corner, create another DWORD value, name it DisableTLcorner, and set its value to 1
Your changes will take effect immediately, so you won’t have to reboot or log out after doing this.
Disable the Touch Screen
You can also disable touch gestures and the touch screen entirely, if you really want to. If you have a Windows 8 device that supports touch, disabling the touch screen is actually a fairly bad idea — you’re giving up a feature that allows you to interact with Windows 8 much more easily. As Microsoft says, Windows 8 is a “touch-first” operating system. Nevertheless, you may want to disable the touch screen for certain rare reasons — perhaps the touch screen is faulty, creating “ghost” presses that send input to the computer when you’re not touching it. If your device is out of warranty and the touch screen is causing problems, disabling it completely will fix the problem.
You can disable the touch screen from the Control Panel. Open the Windows Control Panel and click the Hardware and Sound option. Select Pen and Touch, click the Touch tab, and uncheck the Use your finger as an input device checkbox. Click OK to save your settings.
You can also open the Device Manager, locate the touch-screen device in the list of connected devices, and disable it from here. This will prevent Windows from using the device at all until you re-enable it, so the device won’t be able to send Windows any input signals. We don’t recommend doing this, but you can if you want.
Do you find the touchpad and mouse gestures useful on Windows 8, or do they just get in the way? Leave a comment and let us know whether you’ve disabled Windows 8 gestures or whether you use them frequently.
Image Credit: Hand on laptop touchpad via Shutterstock